39) Self Knowledge (Atmagyan) – Pain and Suffering

TALK 39 by Prabhuji 

MAY 10, 12.06


Today let us understand the cause of suffering. Buddha said life is a suffering, birth, growth, youth, old age, death, everything is a suffering. How can you say that? What is suffering? There is pain in life at various point of life we get pain in life. Pain during birth, and also at various stages of life. Pain can be physical or psychological, pain is a part of life. What does pain signify? Pain signifies that something important is happening in your life and give attention to that. If there is no pain you will not give attention. For example there is a pain in the finger, immediately you notice it and take care of it. You will do what is needed to heal that finger. Pain is the nature way of telling that look there is some problem, give attention, or something significant is happening. For example, there is pain during child birth which means something significant is happening and pay attention to that. Pain is inevitable in the life, but pain becomes suffering when you start re-living the pain psychologically. Suppose somebody calls you donkey, no doubt it hurts, but if you keep on recollecting that even after many years and reliving the pain, then it becomes a suffering. Pain is natural in life, but suffering is optional, it is your choice. The day you stop reliving the pain and forgive the person who has hurt you, you will be free from suffering.

I will tell you a story, there was a guy called Mulla Nasaruddin, he was a philosopher in Middle East, he was going with his friend in a car on a very nice road and there is lot of traffic. This Mulla used to jump from his seat every time when there is a honking from a truck driver. His friend who was driving, said ‘it’s alright I am driving safely nothing will happen to you’. Mulla said you don’t understand my problem, 20 years back a truck driver ran away with my wife’. His friend said, ‘Ok, so what, you seemed to very happy’. Mulla said,’ I am afraid that the truck driver may come back and return my wife’. So after 20 years also he is suffering. Pain is one time, suffering is every day, and suffering is because of your impressions and it is because you have taken something into your memory.


Why does suffering happen?

 There is a small story I will tell you. There was one person who was walking in the night time and it was pitch dark. He could not see and suddenly fell into the well. And he clung onto a rope. He was very happy that he was holding onto a rope and he opened his mouth and something sweet started falling into his mouth and that was honey. He thought, “Wow, this is so nice, I wish whole life is like this. Because it was dark and he was not able to see. The well had so many crocodiles and what he was holding on to was not a rope but a snake. And honey is drizzling from the honey comb, if one honey bee bites he will fall into the well, if the snake bites he will fall into the well. So what we do is we are holding to lot of temporary things in life. It is a very nice experience.  We don’t realize that these temporary experiences can change or move in any point of our life. The holding onto temporary things in life thinking that it is permanent really causes suffering. If you understand that something is temporary we will not get attached to that. We get attached to something thinking that it is permanent. And nothing in life is permanent. Everything in life is temporary.

‘Holding onto something which is temporary thinking that it is permanent is really the cause of suffering.’ Or else it can give pain but will not cause suffering. Pain is part of life but suffering is optional for you!


Transcription by Atmajyothi Satyavathi

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